What poetic elements can you comment upon in "We Are Seven"?

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One of Wordsworth's goals in writing poetry was to compose it in simple, ordinary language that could be easily understood. In "We are Seven," he uses very simple words to convey the story of a little girl who includes her two dead siblings among her living brothers and sisters.

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One of Wordsworth's goals in writing poetry was to compose it in simple, ordinary language that could be easily understood. In "We are Seven," he uses very simple words to convey the story of a little girl who includes her two dead siblings among her living brothers and sisters.

Examples of the poem's simple diction are as follows:

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said
Except for the words "little" and "cottage," these are all one-syllable words that anyone would understand.
Wordsworth also uses imagery to convey a concrete sense of the little girl who is telling a story, including details of her life that make her more real to us. Imagery paints a picture of a scene in our minds using the five senses. For instance, we learn from the narrator that the girl has thick, curly hair, fair eyes, and is "wildly" clad. She herself later describes how she often knits stockings or hems a kerchief in the graveyard amid her dead siblings. At the time, these were simple, ordinary tasks. They convey how natural being among the dead is to her. Today, a child of that age might describe doing her homework amid the graves of her dead brothers and sisters. The imagery shows that the child is not at all disturbed that these siblings are dead: they are still part of her everyday life.
Another poetic device Wordsworth employs is dialogue. The little girl conveys her faith that the dead are seamlessly with us through a conversation with the poem's narrator. The narrator argues with her, which gives her the chance to her to make her case. The dialogue also allows her story to unfold more slowly, gives the little girl her own voice, and helps us to accept the child's logic that concludes the poem:
“But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!”
’Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, “Nay, we are seven!”
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There are a number of poetic elements that can be commented upon in this excellent poem. I am going to refer to the rhyme and rhythm and how this relates to the content. One of the aspects of this poem that stands out is the way in which there is on the whole a regular rhyme scheme of ABAB that dominates the poem. This is paralleled by a very regular rhythm, which seems to capture the stubborness of the girl and the incredulity of the speaker as they continue to argue against each other and insist upon their view being the right one. The regular rhythm and rhyme thus gives the poem an unrelenting, unyielding tone, which mirrors the stand-off that is narrated between the speaker and the girl:

"How many are you, then, said I,

"If they two are in heaven?"

Quick was the little Maid's reply,

"O Master! we are seven."

Thus rhythm and rhyme help exemplify the conflict and the clash of different perspectives in the poem.

 

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